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(US Department of Justice)   Here's the DoJ press release detailing how everything went down for the various charges. An interesting read regardless   ( divider line
    More: Interesting, DOJ, Tsarnaev, Massachusetts State Police, senseless violence, Boston Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, weapons of mass destruction, Boston Marathon  
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9420 clicks; posted to Main » on 22 Apr 2013 at 3:12 PM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2013-04-22 03:21:37 PM  
3 votes:
Suspect in Boston Marathon Attack Charged with Using a Weapon of Mass Destruction

I think this is a stupid way to charge him. Neither of those bombs strike me as being "Weapons of Mass Destruction". Nuclear weapons, large scale biological or chemical weapons... those are weapons of mass destruction. A homemade pressure cooker shrapnel bomb... It is a weapon. It does create destruction, but it's not a weapon of mass destruction... not even remotely.
2013-04-22 06:31:43 PM  
1 vote:

Theaetetus: I was just discussing this with someone who doesn't really understand the federal/state distinction. She believed that federal crimes were "bigger" or more important, and that's why he should be charged federally, since otherwise would diminish the importance of the crime.
Totally incorrect, but probably a pretty common belief.

Most importantly, it's easier to get the death penalty.
2013-04-22 04:10:46 PM  
1 vote:
"Sir I have a movie idea"
"Are you kidding, we gave up that crazy shiat in the 80's with coke as well, now get out before you're fired"
2013-04-22 03:48:42 PM  
1 vote:

Bravo Two: Theaetetus: The charges are actually pretty interesting, from a commerce clause jurisprudence standpoint.

How's that?

Well, the super short version is that Article I, Sec. 8 of the Constitution gives Congress power to do a whole bunch of things, but legislate crimes really isn't one of them - that's instead reserved to the states. Nonetheless, Congress has some power to do so under the Commerce Clause, which allows them to regulate interstate commerce and pass any laws necessary and proper to do so, including criminal laws. So, they can make it a crime to transport hazardous materials across state lines, easy. Or transport child porn across state lines via the internet. They can also make it a crime to, say, murder an interstate trucker, or do any number of things that are related to interstate or foreign commerce.

A while back, however, things got a bit strange in Wickard v. Filburn. There was a tax on wheat production past a certain limit, to protect interstate prices. The farmer who got hit with the fine for growing too much claimed that he was growing the excess amount for purely personal use. The Supreme Court said that that still has an effect on interstate commerce, since it increases the amount he could sell to others. So, purely in-state stuff can still fall under the Commerce Clause.

But then, in US v. Lopez, the Court said that a federal statute criminalizing possession of guns in school zones was unconstitutional, because, even though a gun was probably made in a different state and has passed through interstate commerce, the gun-school zone thing itself has nothing to do with interstate commerce. And they followed that up with US v. Morrison saying that the domestic violence criminalized in the VAWA also has only an indirect link on interstate commerce, and that Congress was really trying to criminalize the act and not regulate interstate commerce, and they don't have that power.

So, how about here? The statutes the guy's charged under both refer to things that "affect interstate commerce", but they're being read broadly enough to basically include "any economic activity," because we have a national economy. They're not really regulating interstate commerce, but criminalizing an act. And under Lopez and Morrison, that's unconstitutional.

There's a lot more complexity than just that, but that's sort of the base argument.
2013-04-22 03:42:19 PM  
1 vote:

propasaurus: Sorry, didn't read the whole thing. If he's being charged by the DOJ with the WMD charge, does that mean that MA will be able to charge him with the cop-killing on a star STATE level?

2013-04-22 03:38:23 PM  
1 vote:

orbister: Sorry if I'm being an ignorant foreigner, but everything else seems to say Massachusetts, which I understand is part of the civilised world.

It's the [Federal]  District of Massachusetts. We have a bifurcated system with state courts and federal courts, which, for convenience, tend to be organized around state lines (or subsections in big states, such as the Eastern District of Texas, or the Northern District of California). Federal courts hear federal cases, state courts hear state cases.
In this case, he'll likely be charged with both state crimes (murder, property destruction, carjacking, illegal firearms use, etc., etc.) as well as these federal crimes. It's not double jeopardy because they're different crimes, with different criminal statutes, in different jurisdictions.
2013-04-22 03:34:04 PM  
1 vote:
The charges are actually pretty interesting, from a commerce clause jurisprudence standpoint.
2013-04-22 03:32:35 PM  
1 vote:

orbister: FTFA:The statutory chargesauthorize a penalty, upon conviction, of death or imprisonment for life or any term of years.

Death? Does that mean that this is a federal case? Sorry if I'm being an ignorant foreigner, but everything else seems to say Massachusetts, which I understand is part of the civilised world.

Yes, these are Federal charges.  You'll notice they did not charge him (or even mention) the murder of the MIT police officer, and did not charge him the car jacking.  Those charges are likely being reserved for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to file, in the event the Federal case gets totally FUBARed.
2013-04-22 03:27:05 PM  
1 vote:
Can't believe we didn't find any pressure cookers in Iraq...
2013-04-22 03:23:41 PM  
1 vote:
Is it just me or was that actually very bland and uninformative?
2013-04-22 03:00:49 PM  
1 vote:
Here's the actual complaint detailing all this (it's at the bottom of this page, but it's a PDF so I didn't know if I could directly link to it for a story)
2013-04-22 02:55:50 PM  
1 vote:
That's actually a very good read. Interesting how it went down.
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